An important theme in Love, which is evident from the opening pages, is the issue of violence against women. At the outset, Romen refuses to participate in a horrendous gang-rape. Christine's relationship with her boyfriend ends because he didn't react appropriately when a fellow-agitator in the civil rights movement was raped. And then there is the (presumed) statutory rape of Heed, whom Bill Cosey marries when she is only eleven, the same age as his granddaughter, Christine.
Of course, as the title suggest, the novel also deals with the love. This is a theme that's explored in many of Morrison's books, including Beloved and The Bluest Eye. Here, the focus is not so much on the nature of love or the idea of love. Pierre Reverdy is supposed to have said “There is no love, there are only proofs of love.” One might say that Love explores what these 'proofs' might consists in. Morrison is concerned not with the abstraction but with the materiality of love and her constant reference to hands might be taken as evidence of her interest in materiality. Another aspect of love is brought out through the absent yet omnipresent Bill Cosey: he is dead, yet all the women in the novel continue to have a close relationship with him. Every single chapter of the book refers to him. Thus, love is also explored as something that crosses the boundaries of life and death.
Themes and Meanings
Love is ostensibly absent from this novel until its final pages, though its presence is suggested by some characters’ actions. Love masquerades as lust, possession, infatuation, envy, delusion, self-interest, romance, and even hatred. Christine mistakenly believes that her mother sent her away to school at the age of thirteen because Bill wanted her gone. In fact, the predatory sheriff noticed the beautiful girl, and Bill sent her...
(The entire section is 459 words.)